A slim majority of Americans, 52%, say labor unions mostly help the U.S. economy, while 41% believe unions mostly hurt it. After a sharp 14-point decline between 2006 and 2009 in the percentage of Americans who believe unions mostly help the economy, public opinion is essentially back to what it was before the recession.
Democrats, Republicans and independents became less optimistic about unions’ effect on the economy during and after the Great Recession, but all three groups have grown more positive. Republicans, the group showing the least amount of faith in unions’ ability to help the economy, have not quite recovered to their pre-recession levels, but independents and Democrats have. Currently, 71% of Democrats, 53% of independents and 28% of Republicans believe unions mostly help the economy.
The results are based on Gallup’s annual Work and Education poll. In this year’s poll, conducted Aug. 3-7, Gallup asked Americans for the first time since 2011 to assess unions’ effect on the U.S. economy, on unionized companies, and on union and nonunion workers.